Porous disks are commonly encountered in experimental studies dealing with flow through objects such as wind turbines, parachutes, and fluidic devices to regulate pressure and/or downstream turbulence. Perforations are typically staggered and only porosity is altered to attain the required disk drag coefficient, despite a documented influence of topology. Few works have reported, however, to which extent the spatial distribution of the circular perforations affect the mean flow pertaining freestanding disks, and for this reason, this work presents a first, more systematic study focused on the effect of azimuthally varying hole topology and porosity on disk drag and near-wake characteristics. An experimental study performed in airflows of negligible freestream turbulence at Reynolds numbers in the order of 105 is reported and related to the existing literature to ensure reliability. Complementary to drag measurements, near-wake surveys have been performed on a variety of perforation layouts using two-component laser Doppler velocimetry and two-component particle image velocimetry. It is shown that minor changes in perforations can cause drastic changes in near-wake flow topology and no perforation layout can be consistently associated with highest drag. Explicit empirical expressions for drag coefficient linked with the simplified topologies considered have been derived.

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